A mini-Ice Age?

Better throw some more logs on the fire.

What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.


The Sun normally follows an 11-year cycle of activity. The current cycle, Cycle 24, is now supposed to be ramping up towards maximum strength. Increased numbers of sunspots and other indications ought to be happening: but in fact results so far are most disappointing. Scientists at the NSO now suspect, based on data showing decades-long trends leading to this point, that Cycle 25 may not happen at all.


The magic phrase ‘Maunder Minimum’ was used – which suggests that we might be looking at another Little Ice Age.  Which, depending on who you ask, either: caused a bunch of wars; made a bunch of wars much worse than they would have been otherwise; or is not to be mentioned in polite company.  Personally, I was hoping that we’d avoid this: after all, cold is death and heat is life.  Better to be warm and wet, than cold and dry.  But then, I have kids, and I worry that the current short-sighted, willful denial of science by our self-appointed elites may be condemning my children – and everybody else’s – to a future of poverty and dearth.

On the bright side, a colleague of mine suggested that the perfect name for a hypothetical new period of decreased sunspot activity would be the “Gore Minimum.”  In terms of irony alone, that would be perfect.


Moe Lane (crosspost)


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